About Our Destination
This trip requires a moderate to high level of mobility, as most of the tours are walking tours (including walking on cobblestone streets and navigating some stairs). If you are bringing a portable wheelchair and scooter, they may be used only on tours, not on the ship. Because of the limited space onboard, they cannot be driven to your cabin or other parts of the ship and will need to be collapsed and stored in your cabin. On tours, the usefulness of a portable wheelchair or scooter may be limited because we will be navigating cobblestone streets with hard curbs (no curb cutouts) and stairs.
There is a lot of walking on these trips. We highly recommend that you start walking daily now to ensure that by the time we depart you are comfortable walking 10,000-15,000 steps a day (approximately 5-7.5 miles [8-12 kilometers]) and thereby may fully enjoy all that this trip has to offer!
If you have limited mobility, you are required to travel with someone who can assist you.
Being Gay in Europe
Being LGBT is widely accepted in all of the countries we visit.
The weather in this part of Europe has ranged from a chilly and rainy 55 degrees, to a sunny, warm 80 degrees! Plan to dress in layers and prepare for anything. Check www.weather.com for the most current weather.
Holland, Germany and France use the Euro. Switzerland uses the Swiss Franc. Check www.xe.com for current rates.
The languages most commonly spoken in the countries we’ll visit are Dutch, German (and the Swiss German dialect), and French, but most people also speak English!
- Tuesday, April 13—Amsterdam, Holland
- Wednesday, April 14—Amsterdam, Holland
- Thursday, April 15—Cologne, Germany
- Friday, April 16—Koblenz/Rhine Gorge/Rüdesheim, Germany
- Saturday, April 17—Mainz/Heidelberg, Germany
- Sunday, April 18—Strasbourg, France
- Monday, April 19—Breisach/Black Forest, Germany
- Tuesday, April 20—Basel, Switzerland
* Itineraries are guidelines—subject to change based on factors such as weather, river lock status, river traffic, and water levels—and will be adjusted as necessary to optimize your experience.
Before Your Trip
What’s Included and What’s Not
What’s not included?
- Accommodations for 8 days/7 nights onboard the Avalon Expression, one of the finest riverboats on the Rhine
- All meals while on board
- Champagne with breakfast; coffee, tea, and juices with all meals; beer, wine, and soft drinks with lunch and dinner; and bottled water replenished in cabin daily
- Standard wifi in all cabins and public areas
- Olivia entertainment and programming as well as local entertainment
- Included sightseeing tours in each port
- Gratuities to ship crew and Avalon cruise director
- Group transfer from the ship in Basel to the Zürich airport on April 20, 2021
- Olivia staff assistance throughout
Unexpected events can cause you to cancel your vacation. Because we are committed to this charter, we must strictly adhere to our cancellation policy as outlined in our Olivia Terms & Conditions.The trip cancellation fee schedule is noted in the table below.
- Transfer to the ship in Amsterdam
- Optional tours
- Alcoholic beverages, bottled water, and soft drinks (except where indicated)
- Phone and fax services
2021 AMSTERDAM TO SWITZERLAND RIVERBOAT
||$500 per person,
|Cancellation 365 days or more prior to trip date
||50% of trip cost
|Cancellation 0-364 days prior to trip date
||100% of trip cost (no refund)
Transfer funds are nonrefundable and nontransferable from the point of sale forward.
Community: Joining the Online Trip Group
If you'd like to chat with people who are going on the trip, join Olivia’s official 2021 Amsterdam to Switzerland Riverboat group on Facebook.
Honeymoons and Other Celebrations
Register at Olivia Honeymoon Wishes for your honeymoon, anniversary, or other special celebration; browse through the selections and let your friends know just how easy it is for them to purchase a gift for you.
Olivia Travel Gear Store
To help you get ready for your vacation, we’ve partnered with New Headings to create Olivia Travel Gear, our own online gear and apparel store featuring items from leading brands, including Craghoppers, Patagonia, Teva, Outdoor Research, and Eagle Creek. Visit olivia.newheadings.com for more information!
Olivia’s preferred travel agency
Conlin Travel is one of the “Top 50” Travel Agencies in the country ranked alongside some of the globe’s largest agencies. In business for almost 60 years, Conlin Travel’s core belief is aligned with Olivia in delivering that personal concierge service to each and every traveler, every time. A full-service, gay-friendly agency with staff located across the country, Conlin Travel looks forward to assisting you with your air travel and hotel reservations for stays outside of Olivia’s pre- and post-trip Vacation Stretcher packages. For air and hotel bookings, a small fee will be applied to your overall cost.
For assistance, please call Conlin Travel: #888-278-1698
If you will celebrate a birthday or any other special event during the week of your trip that you have not already told your Olivia Travel Consultant about, please let us know as soon as possible, but no less than 90 days prior to the trip.
Specific Needs—Medical, Mobility, Dietary, and Otherwise
If you have medical, mobility, or dietary requirements that you have not already told your Olivia Travel Consultant about, please let us know as soon as possible, but no less than 90 days prior to the trip. Resources in the Amazon are limited, so advance planning is necessary.
If you have not done so already, Olivia recommends that you purchase a travel protection plan to protect yourself and your trip investment. Now more than ever it’s extremely important to think about the unexpected. It is important to purchase the travel protection within 15 days of your initial invoice date in order to receive the most comprehensive coverage, including the “cancel for any reason” option, but it isn’t too late. Consider travel protection for trip cancellation, delay, and interruption; baggage delay; emergency medical services and emergency evacuation; and more.
For a travel insurance quote, more information or to purchase a protection plan, please call Olivia at 800-631-6277 and select option 1 for a travel consultant.
Passport and Visa
If you are a US citizen, you will need a passport that is valid for six months past the date of the trip. You will not need to get a visa for travel to Switzerland, France, Germany, or the Netherlands. If you are not a US citizen, you will need a passport that is valid for six months past the date of the trip and you should check with both your country’s consulate and the consulates of the countries we will be visiting to determine whether you need an entry visa or other additional documentation.
We will be offering one-, two-, and three-night pre-trip Vacation Stretchers in Amsterdam, and two- and three-night post-trip Vacation Stretchers in Zürich. Information on these Vacation Stretchers will be available on our website, in the Vacation Stretcher tab, 11 months prior to the trip. Note that hotel rooms for pre- and post-trip Vacation Stretchers may not be available for check-in until 3 pm.
Please check with your local Public Health Department or personal physician regarding immunization requirements for all countries on your itinerary. You may also check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website at: www.cdc.gov. Just click on “Traveler’s Health” followed by “Vaccinations.”
Travel and Arrival
You will need to fly into Amsterdam-Schiphol International Airport (AMS) and out of Zürich Airport (ZRH). We encourage all passengers to extend their trip with our pre- and post-trip Vacation Stretchers to enjoy all that Amsterdam and Zürich have to offer, as well as to avoid the stress of unexpected delays.
Save up to 15% on your airfare through our partner airlines. Please visit our airfare discount page for the most up-to-date information.
Flight arrival and departure times
If arriving in Amsterdam on the first day of our trip (April 13, 2021), please arrive at Amsterdam-Schiphol International Airport (AMS) no later than 2 pm. To be eligible for the included group transfer from our riverboat to the Zürich Airport, schedule your departing flight for after 11 am on April 20, 2021. If your flight departs prior to 11 am, you may need to arrange for your own taxi transfer to the airport, which can cost over €200. If you are considering flight times close to these cutoff times, please call 800-631-6277 to confirm that they are okay.
The included bus transfer, from the riverboat to Zürich Airport, limits luggage to one piece per person, plus a carry-on. Airlines often restrict (or charge) for excess baggage. Because each airline is different, and the regulations change over time, please check with your airline for baggage allowances. For ease of travel in Europe, we recommend bringing no more than one large piece and a smaller carry-on.
If you arrive in Amsterdam early on April 13, 2021, you can board the ship any time after 8 am to drop off your luggage and either enjoy the public spaces or venture out to enjoy Amsterdam on your own. Your suite or stateroom will be available to you after 4 pm.
The riverboat dock will be located approximately 30-40 minutes from Amsterdam-Schiphol International Airport (AMS). The exact dock will not be determined until closer to our sailing date, and possibly not until that day. If we are unable to provide the exact location of the port prior to our sailing date, we will provide a phone number to call on the day of embarkation to obtain the address and information about transit options.
Transfer to the riverboat
It will be your responsibility to arrange for your transportation to the riverboat dock. We estimate a rideshare or taxi from Amsterdam-Schiphol International Airport (AMS) to the riverboat dock will cost approximately 60-75€.
During Your Trip
The beautifully designed Avalon Expression features sliding glass doors in almost every stateroom. The staterooms and suites are well appointed and are among the largest available on any riverboat. Some of the features and amenities you’ll enjoy on board:
- An entirely nonsmoking interior
- Elegant, contemporary design and panoramic windows throughout the ship
- Spaces to relax and unwind: library, beautiful bar, lounge serving premium spirits (extra charge), and sun deck
- Air conditioning
- Laundry service (check pricing on board)
- Fitness center
- Included shore excursions with local guide, and all tipping to guides included
- Headsets for shore excursions
- Complimentary wifi access
- Premium coffees, cappuccinos, and lattes, as well as a self-serve coffee station
- Daily early- and late-riser breakfast
- Full buffet breakfast with sparkling wine, complimentary juices, and made-to-order egg station
- Complimentary regional wines, beer, and soft drinks with lunch and dinner
- Al fresco lunches in the Sky Bistro on the sun deck
- Four-course chef-inspired dinners with regional recipes
- Evening snack served at 10:30 pm
- Remarkable service throughout the cruise
- English-speaking crew
Fine dining on the Avalon Expression features European cuisine. Breakfast and lunch are served buffet style, and dinner is offered as sit-down menu service with open seating.
The cabins have 110- and 220-volt electricity. Adapters should have 2 round prongs (type C).
Entertainment & Programming
We will bring two Olivia entertainers to perform on several evenings, as well as enjoy some of local entertainment along the way.
Narration will be provided about the Rhine and its many locks, and special talks will be given about the history of the areas we visit.
River cruising is all about port destinations. Don’t expect the same ship-activity packed schedule you might find on a big ship or resort! On a typical day, following breakfast we will enjoy a walking tour of the new city we have arrived in, followed by lunch on board and either an optional extra walking (or other) tour or free time to explore. Perhaps you’ll enjoy a fun and informative lecture on the history of the area or take that well-deserved nap. It’s your vacation! In the evenings, we will be delighted by local entertainers or one of our two Olivia artists. After the shows, enjoy our riverboat version of “Club O,” with our talented staff taking turns being a “guest DJ” to provide dancing music in the main lounge. Or you may choose to get to bed early for your next full day!
A walking and/or city tour is included in each of the ports visited. Optional tours, ranging in price from approximately €39 to €79, may be booked on board and will not conflict with the included tours.
Whenever possible, we will create a Gentle Walkers group on each included tour for any guests who need a little extra time walking—perhaps guests with scooters or canes or photographers who like to stop frequently to take photos. For those with mobility issues, we suggest purchasing a cane that can also fold out to be a seat so you can rest while the group stops to listen to the guide. They are many different styles to choose from online on sites such as amazon.com.
Please note that on the optional tours, we are not able to offer a Gentle Walkers group. If you are unsure of your ability to take a specific tour, please discuss your concerns with the cruise director on board.
Gratuities are provided to your Avalon cruise director, cabin steward, dining room steward, bus person, maître d’, reception, bar staff and other-behind-the-scenes crew members and are included in the cost of the cruise.
Tipping is also included for the local guides and bus drivers on included tours and optional tours. Should you receive exceptional service and wish to tip more, this is completely at your discretion.
Internet, Email, and Fax
Complimentary wifi is included on board in public spaces and in your cabin for use on your personal digital devices (phone, laptop, or tablet computer). There is an onboard internet center with two desktop computers for guest use. Faxes can be sent from the reception desk for a charge.
Laundry and Dry Cleaning
Laundry and pressing services are available; prices will be available onboard the ship. Dry-cleaning and self-service laundry facilities are not available.
The ship will be minutes away from hospitals when we are docked in cities and will be close to local towns when we are cruising along the river. The ship does not have an onboard doctor.
Money: On-Board Purchases
The currency used on board is euros (€). All purchases made on the ship will be charged to your onboard account, which you will create when you first check in. Cash, Visa, MasterCard, and American Express are accepted. Please check with the ship’s front office for further details.
Each cabin has a phone for calling other cabins and for making international and local calls. There is an additional fee to use this phone for international or local calls; cost is available on board. We suggest that you check with your cell phone provider for international service.
The interior of the Avalon Expression is entirely nonsmoking. Smoking is not permitted in your cabins or on your cabin’s French balcony. A smoking area will be designated on an outdoor deck.
Guests traveling independently can look forward to Solos programs led by our Solos coordinator, who will ensure you have a great time.
- 172- to 200-sq ft staterooms and 300-sq ft suites, some of the largest on the river
- Most with floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors
- Air conditioning
- Large bathroom with glass-doored showers
- Premium L'Occitane bath amenities
- Flat-screen satellite TV with movie channels
- Spacious 3-door closets for ample storage
- Nonallergenic duvets and pillows
- Pillow-top Comfort Collection beds
- Egyptian cotton sheets
- Bottled water replenished daily
After Your Trip
Transfers to the Airport
A group transfer to the Zürich Airport is included for flights booked after 11 am. The Zürich Airport is approximately 1 hour from where the riverboat will dock in Basel.
Guests taking flights that depart before 11 am will need to arrange their own taxi or other transit to the airport, which are generally very expensive, or risk missing their flight.
To enable to you extend your visit and enjoy more of these great cities, we will have optional 1-, 2-, and 3-night pre-trip Vacation Stretchers in Amsterdam and 2- and 3-night post-trip Vacation Stretchers in Zürich. Please visit our Vacation Stretchers tab for more information approximately 11 months prior to the trip.
Check out our Olivia travel FAQ. Or call us at 800-631-6277 (inside the US and Canada) or 415-962-5700 (outside the US and Canada) and select option 1.